Best Drug Store Makeup – Beauty on a Budget!

best drug store make up
Have you ever wondered how to get that red carpet movie star look without breaking the bank?  Let's face it, in these economic times, we are not as willing to go to Sephora, Ulta or other high end retailers to get those key products we love to make us look fabulous. And, if you are like me, you are a drug store beauty junkie who loves scoring amazing quality products that deliver the look for less. Discover the best drug store makeup and tips on applying makeup!

To begin with, one of the keys to making drug store makeup look fabulous is to first determine which brands deliver high impact intensity and quality.  This may mean you have to do some research on the internet.  It may mean that you discover these products through trial and error. I have found that some of the best drug store makeup brands include Milani, Wet n Wild, L'oreal, Black Opal and NYX.  The other key to making drug store makeup look fabulous which is just as important, if not more, is the technique or method of application and the tools you use to perfect the look you are going for.

Best Drug Store Makeup


Start off with an eyeshadow primer such as Lumene Eyeshadow Primer to even out the color of your eyelid, prevent creasing and intensify the color of your eyeshadow. You can even use your foundation powder or a concealer to prime the eyelid. Next, apply the shadows with good quality brushes such as Essence of Beauty.  Please do not use the little applicators that come in the compact.  Also, when applying eyeshadow, use a pack and blend method instead of rubbing which breaks down pigments.  Again, please blend blend blend because there is nothing worse than looking like you just slapped on some eyeshadow.


To begin with, good makeup brushes are very important tools which will ensure you get the best application. Six basic brushes that you to have in your kit have are: powder brush for applying loose/pressed powders, blush brush, concealer brush, eyeshadow contour brush (which can also be used for blending) for creating depth, small/medium eyeshadow brush for all over application, smudge brush to create softer eyeliner. Brushes come with synthetic and natural hairs. Synthetic hairs are best used for creams such as cream eyeliners and lipsticks, whereas natural hairs are best for powder products.


Brows give shape and dimension to the face, so start off with making sure your brows are groomed.  This can mean waxing, tweezing, or shaving.  I personally have been using Ardell Cold Wax strips which are very easy to use.  They come with 21 shaping strips for above and below the brow.  If you need to fill in your brows:  lightly fill in with a powder such as Ardell Brow Defining Powder or use a pencil to fill (with light feather strokes) such as Beautique Brow Pencils which are soft and sharpen very nicely.


For foundations, start with good skincare which should include cleansing, toning (optional), treatments, moisturizer/suncreen.  When your skin is in good condition, your foundation goes on more smoothly and will only need to be used to polish your look instead of performing a massive cover up.  After your skincare regimen, use a foundation primer such as Rimmell Fix & Perfect Primer to smooth out your skin and keep your foundation on longer.  And please make sure your foundation matches.  Test your foundation along your jawline.  It should match your neck.  If applying liquid, use a foundation brush instead of your fingers for better coverage.  If you are using a powder you can either use the latex sponge that comes in the compact for fuller coverage or use a powder brush for more sheer coverage. If you are using a cream to powder, use a stippling brush.  Next apply your concealer, if necessary, and then blend.  Set with a finishing powder.


Begin with an exfoliant to slough off dead skin.  Use a lip liner that is close to your natural lip color or that is very close to the lip color you are using.  Fill in your lip.  By doing so, you not only give shape and definition to your lips but the lip liner will also help the lip color adhere to your lips longer, providing longer lasting wear.  Next apply lip color with a lip brush for precision application.


Again, please don’t use the applicator that comes in the compact.  Use a blush brush with longer bristles so that you get more of a wash of color on the cheeks and don’t look like a clown.

With these tips and the right products, you are well on your way to looking fabulous on a budget!


Khalilah Neals is founder K. Neals Management, a makeup artistry, beauty, and image management company providing services for all occassions. With 12 years experience in bridal, runway and film, Khalilah has a passion for bringing out the best in her clients. Her artistic and analytical eye for detail has made her a sought after makeup artist. Khalilah has years of management experience with several beauty/clothing retailers such as bebe, Cache and Sephora and has worked as head makeup artist on several independent films and television shows. She teaches her 4 point makeup consultations to clients, provides wardrobe consultations which includes revamping and maximization and has recently participated as one of the makeup artists for DC Fashion Week.


Image courtesy of: nuttakit /

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